I will pay you to unGoogle me...

I Google myself every once in awhile to see what comes up. Usually its Linked-in, Facebook, etc,. The other day I Googled myself and the last thing that I want to appear on fucking Google shows up: The police blotter for the small town newspaper where I was arrested during sophomore year. I go to school in a small town (9,000-10,000 people). For those of you who have never read a small town paper, they publish every civilian cop interaction for the week. EVERYTHING. Get a fucking parking ticket at the Wal-Mart in town, they will post it. Here's what my post reads:

My Name, 20, The town, booked in the early morning hours on Sunday. Public intox, minor in consumption.

(Note: the public intox charge was dropped. But I still spent the night in the county slammer and got pink eye in both eyes).

How does that fucking sound to an employer??!! Like a responsible young adult who you should invest a base salary of 60K into right? I'm a senior and recruiting season is underway. I have solid experience, but I don't go to a target school (Top 50 Liberal Arts) and I have a 3.31 GPA. Obviously I don't have aspirations of applying for an IBD analyst position at Goldman (I have a better shot at winning the powerball) but my name will probably be Googled in the next 6 months by someone other than me.

For whatever reason it shows up only on Firefox on my computer. I Googled how to un-google yourself and nothing productive or relevant has showed up. I even contacted the newspaper editor and the son of a bitch hasn't gotten back.

PLEASE HELP. I WILL MAIL YOU A NICE CHECK IF YOU CAN UNGOOGLE ME.

I'm losing sleep over this shit...

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Best Response
Sep 9, 2010 - 10:00pm

What you need to do is outrank it with something positive, thats your best bet. Start a Twitter account under your real name, their domain has a high pagerank and should outrank that tiny paper. Start a blog. Fight fire with fire. You probably cant take down the newspaper article, so you'll need to drown it out.

- Capt K - "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham
  • 2
Sep 9, 2010 - 10:47pm

I know someone who had a whole bandwagon of people out there posting not-nice things about him on the internet. To help combat his bad press, he paid an organization to write a wikipedia article about him and increase the amount of good news that appeared on page 1. I suggest you look into similar organizations -- they are out there.

Note: You're probably not important enough to warrant a wikipedia page, but the search engine optimization part may work for you.

CompBanker

  • 1
Sep 9, 2010 - 11:19pm

Well Barnaby, due to my lack of desire to continue studying for my GMATs, I did some sleuthing. I think you're just fine. You don't come up on page one or two of any of my searches -- lucky you that your name isn't "Halberstram" or something equally unique. The article is over a year old and as it gets older google will continue to index it further and further down the chain. Your Linked-In profile, Facebook, freshman year football stats, etc. will also push it further down.

At the end of the day, public intoxication as a minor doesn't mean you're a criminal, it just means you got caught. I wouldn't worry about it -- go to bed.

P.S. An employer doesn't give a second thought to your $60k base salary.

CompBanker

  • 2
Sep 9, 2010 - 11:49pm

I couldn't find anything either (though those high school football stats are a nice touch). One thing to consider is that Google may be personalizing results for you if you're signed in - if they see you visit a site a lot, it will begin to rank more highly for you individually. Try signing out and see if the newspaper article is still at the top.

I think your probably fine. I did send you a PM though with a few tips on ramping up your positive online presence if you want to try to drown it out.

- Capt K - "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham
  • 2
Nov 28, 2012 - 9:52pm

How much trouble am I in if an employer Googles my name? (Originally Posted: 04/18/2012)

Hey fellas,

I apologize in advance for the relative wall of text; however, I can assure you that at least it'll be mildly interesting.

I'm currently an undergraduate finance student getting ready for recruiting next semester. I have the fortune of being able to attend a target business school, but more importantly, have been working really hard to network and to learn everything that I possibly can to prepare myself for recruiting.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot over the past few weeks is my concern that HR departments next year are going to Google my name. The reason for my concern is that if you Google my full legal name, followed by my university (e.g. [first name] [middle name] [last name] [university name]), the first link that pops up is a link to a thread on a hobbyist forum that I was involved in a year and a half ago.

Long story short, the thread isn't pretty. Several individuals in this thread accused me of attempting to scam them for some items. Unfortunately, the entire thing was a misunderstanding (as I'm sure you know can happen quite readily on the internet), but before I had the chance to explain what was going on (I was incommunicado), the thread was locked. I've went ahead and emailed the administrators of the forum in an attempt to get this information removed, but to little avail.

Anyway, the thread paints a pretty bad picture, but it's certainly only one side of the story, and I can say pretty honestly that none of it is true. The problem arose from me being unreachable for a few days due to some emergency family matters, but it got out of hand as the groupthink among the individuals that I had agreed to conduct transactions with quickly evolved into, "Hey, let's call the police and report this guy, he must be trying to scam us!"

Nothing ever happened, of course, and I resolved the issues with all of the individuals in question shortly after I returned.

However, as the thread has been locked, and no edits can be made, my name is forever immortalized in this thread, and pops up on Google provided that you search the very specific phrase, [first name] [middle name] [last name] [university name].

I know that I'm probably going to receive a bunch of responses like, "You're fucked, give up now," but honestly – how much of a problem will this prove to be for me? Like I mentioned in my first post, I'm pretty confident that with the proper preparation (network, summer internship, general hard work), I'll be able to secure offers next term. What I'm worried about is that these offers will get rescinded if an HR personnel tries to Google my name. Apart from this problem, everything else about me is clean -- a background and finance check will come up clean, I don't do drugs, and I'd consider myself an all around pretty amicable guy. Oh, and I didn't lie about my GPA or past employment history on my resume.

Honestly, how much trouble could this pose for me? Is there anything that I can do rectify this? It's only a problem because it's untrue, and entirely unfair. I'd hate for some unsubstantiated internet slander to derail my entire career path.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Nov 28, 2012 - 9:55pm
MailmanBitesDog:
What was the context of the forum? Link?

Hey Mailman, as much as I'd like to be able to show you guys the context, I hope you can understand that I'd rather not have even more people know my name, and for there to be more links to it around the web.
futurectdoc:
Unlikely to, it's the web, they likely don't care that much and how would they know it's actually you?

My full name is pretty unique -- or at least my middle name is. Given that my University is posted in the thread, the chances of there being another person with the same name as me are pretty slim.

However, I believe that you're still correct in saying that there's no way for them to actually verify that the person in the thread is me. Given that the matter was resolved, there was no police interaction (nor do I think there would have been even if it weren't), and as I mentioned in my OP, any legal file will come up clean for me.

Thanks for responding!

Nov 28, 2012 - 9:58pm

Understandable about not sharing your name. Just wondering if the context is something harmless and irrelevant such as "how to build model cars" or something they might worry bout, such as "how to build the perfect meth pipe". One creates a slightly larger cause for concern

Nov 28, 2012 - 9:59pm

I'd certainly be willing to elaborate on it a bit more. Here's the basic situation:

I was a member of a hobbyist forum that revolves around people fawning over nice, legal items. Nothing shady, and nothing out of the ordinary. A hobby that's slightly expensive, but not into the range of modding-BMWs and whatnot.

There's a small classified sections on the forum, where I had previously developed a stellar reputation as a seller. I had made over a dozen transactions without a problem, including a few trades.

Over the particular weekend in question, I had agreed to make some trades with a few individuals (six, seven). It was slightly out of the ordinary, but nothing to cause concern in my eyes.

On Monday, I shipped the items out like I normally did, and provided them with an update. However, I received a call that afternoon with some urgent family matter, and had to fly home that very night. It never crossed my mind that there might have been an issue with shipping, as all of my previous transactions had been issue free.

Unfortunately, this time there was. The University service that I normally used to ship out my items had neglected to hand it off to USPS, and as such, the tracking numbers never updated. The members never received their items, even though they had fulfilled their end of the bargain and shipped their items to me.

Of course, I wasn't aware of this, as during my family emergency, I didn't even think about checking to make sure that everything was a-ok. Definitely foolish on my end, I realize, and that's a lesson I learned from the entire experience.

Long story short, a mob of forumers rose up and accused me in my classified listing of scamming them when the items didn't show up. To make matters worse, they pointed out, I used different names in my dealings with them. On my end, this had nothing to do with fraud, but was rather just me being the tin-foil paranoid that I am, who tries not to give away too much information about myself on the internet.

Of course, it all looked bad. They tried to file a police report, and there's a bunch of police information listed in the thread (officer phone number, email address, etc.).

It wasn't until after I returned that I saw what had happened, and tried immediately to rectify the situation. I shipped all of their items back promptly (express mail). The thread was locked, however, before I had the chance to explain what had happened. I was also banned from the forum for maintaining an alternate account (much as I'm doing now; this isn't my main WSO account).

That's all there is to it, in short. Nothing illegal, and no mens rea. In my eyes, its an issue of a series of unfortunate events happening, combined with the simple wonders of the internet and the fact that anyone can post anything at any time about any individual.


However, I'm aware that it looks back, and am deeply worried that this will dash my chances of working at an investment bank. Honestly, what I'm most worried about is the following scenario:

Receive offer from company A and B. Accept offer from A, and reject offer from B. Three months later, am informed by A that this came up in my background check, and have consequently rescinded their offer. Am left without an internship for the summer as a result. Poverty ensues, and I am eventually finished off by a hobo attacking me over a half-empty bottle of cheap liquor.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:01pm

if it's something like warhammer i'd ding you before i even click the link, so in that respect the content is irrelevant

Moving tonnes of product. Making fat stacks.
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:03pm

get a lawyer to write cease and desist to the forum admin's server if the admin doesn't respond

More is good, all is better
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:04pm

get a lawyer to write cease and desist to the forum admin's server if the admin doesn't respond

More is good, all is better
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:05pm

I agree with Argonaut, write a cease and desist letter to the forum. You could email it to them at first, or try looking up the website on GoDaddy to find out who owns it and mailing them a letter.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:06pm

Create a shit load of search results with your name in it and create so much noise they'll never see it. HR only scans the first 10/20 or so, and unless you're on the front page of KKK TEXAS WEEKLY, they're really not going to scour the articles. The above are also good ideas: ask the site mod to take down the post.

You can also recruit some kids from 4chan to kill the site if you really want to nuke this.

Get busy living
  • 1
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:07pm
UFOinsider:
Create a shit load of search results with your name in it and create so much noise they'll never see it. HR only scans the first 10/20 or so, and unless you're on the front page of KKK TEXAS WEEKLY, they're really not going to scour the articles. The above are also good ideas: ask the site mod to take down the post.

You can also recruit some kids from 4chan to kill the site if you really want to nuke this.

Depending how popular/large the site is that may be hard. The 4chan method would also work, but never trust them

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:09pm

Hey guys, as much as I appreciate the suggestion to have 4chan bomb the site, it's probably not a very smart idea, and it's actually a pretty large site (bigger than WSO, I'm sure).

My question really is just how damaging this could be to me if HR digs it up, and would a bank retract their offer over it? MailmanBitesDog has said no, but I'd appreciate any other insight.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:11pm
thesevelvetmornings:
Hey guys, as much as I appreciate the suggestion to have 4chan bomb the site, it's probably not a very smart idea, and it's actually a pretty large site (bigger than WSO, I'm sure).

My question really is just how damaging this could be to me if HR digs it up, and would a bank retract their offer over it? MailmanBitesDog has said no, but I'd appreciate any other insight.


LOL I wouldn't do something like that either, I'm just trying to psych you up. Depending on how much of a douche the site plays you off as, it could actually be a problem. EddieBraverman has a post about dealing with this exact issue, and it would only take you a few minutes to cover your tracks...
Get busy living
  • 2
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:10pm

I'd say no, it probably won't deny you entrance into an IB. However, better safe than sorry. Do what Argonaut is saying -- a C&D letter will most likely get the thread taken down.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:13pm

Hey AlsatianCousin, it's not HypeBeast, Highsnobiety, etc., although I'm vaguely familiar with those forums.

UFOinsider, do you mind providing a link to the Eddie Braverman situation that you mentioned? I tried Googling it (oh, the irony), but I wasn't able to find it.

Thanks for the advice, guys. Any other opinions (especially HR) would be most welcome.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:15pm

I'm curious about this, too. Can they actually take away your offer based off of something that's not even concrete? For example, I can go on a random website and write a bunch of shit about UFOinsider if I want, but it hardly means that it's true.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:19pm
A Fellow Linguist:
I can go on a random website and write a bunch of shit about UFOinsider if I want, but it hardly means that it's true.

Now why would you go and do a thing like that?
Get busy living
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:17pm

it depends what the "items" are... if you're talking about a stereo or a computer, that's fine... if it was something you shouldn't have been handling in the first place, than it could be an issue.

If it's just some random item, then forget it, not a big deal. Just explain what happened if it comes up.

  • 1
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:18pm

You're fine, worst case scenario HR gives you a ring and says "What's the deal with website X?" and you explain to them how it was a huge misunderstanding, etc... and they understand you're a reasonable/sane person and make a joke about it.

OR HR reads it and doesn't give a F...as everyone else has said.

Nov 28, 2012 - 10:20pm

You need not worry OP. If HR were ever to google you, they would probably die of boredom from looking at your pokemon trading card site, before they can get around to black-listing you.

Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:21pm
Leonidas:
You need not worry OP. If HR were ever to google you, they would probably die of boredom from looking at your pokemon trading card site, before they can get around to black-listing you.

So black listing does exist? ...Knew I shouldn't have banged that MDs daughter

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